Here you will learn what products we use and how we care for all of our hatchlings.
We keep all of our species, and subspecies, separated. This allows us to provide the absolute best care and ensure great health to all of our tortoises.
50/50 mixture of organic topsoil and Coco Coir.
Depth of 5-6" (this allows burrowing).
Top layer of Forest Floor.
Misted daily to maintain humidity.
Basking spot is 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit (35-38 degrees Celsius) during the day.
Ambient temperature on cooler side is 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) during the day.
We do not, nor do we recommend, using heat at night. Testudo graeca hatchlings need to cool down at night, same as the adults. The ambient overnight temperatures in our hatchling enclosures are usually 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. In the event that temps are too low, we provide a Ceramic Heat Emitter (CHE) to keep the temperature more reasonable.
We do not use, and also discourage the use of, "heat pads" or "heat rocks." Those items are a risk to burn the tortoise, and are a fire danger if they get too hot inside the enclosure.
Some subspecies such as the ibera require higher humidity. We keep the humidity in their enclosures at 80%.
Other subspecies such as the terrestris, marokkensis, soussensis, nabeulensis, graeca (Moorish), and cyrenaica, need drier and hotter environments and cannot handle excessive moisture. To avoid respiratory illnesses and other health concerns, we keep their enclosures warm and dry with very little humidity.
At least two darker, cooler hides are provided.
Other decor provides variety of terrain and landscape.
A security camera allows us to check in on our hatchlings at any time.
We soak all of our hatchlings every morning in warm water for 20 minutes. This helps keep them hydrated and maintains healthy kidney function.
A variety of food is provided, with something different for breakfast each morning. Food is provided after soaking, and is left so hatchlings can graze.
Various items we feed include: natural weeds and flowers that we grow outdoors from seed, Mazuri (moistened), spineless prickly pear cactus (and opuntia cactus fruit), and "store bought" organic leafy greens (dandelion, romaine lettuce, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, escarole, endive, red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, and radicchio).
We also like to serve a "gel kit" we purchase from Kapidolo Farms. These gel kits are easy to make and can be customized to provide different flavors.
We never feed, and do not recommend feeding, "grocery store fruits." Their high sugar content is not healthy and the tortoises have difficulty digesting them. For treats, our tortoises get flowers (hibiscus and Mexican petunia are their favorites).
Fresh water is provided using a small terra cota plant saucer. It's shallow to prevent drowning, and wide enough to crawl into, should the hatchlings wish to soak themselves.
We make our own "Calcium Cakes" that we leave in each enclosure for our tortoises to chew on when they want to. They are made using Calcium Carbonate powder that we purchase from Kapidolo Farms.
There are a variety of dried greens and flowers that our torts love having mixed into their food a few times a week. These can also be purchased from Kapidolo Farms. We highly recommend the dried hibiscus!
We also use Mediterranean Graze once a week to sprinkle on top of their breakfast, which we get from TortRescue
We spot clean our enclosures daily, usually while hatchlings are soaking. We remove any feces and uneaten crumbs of food.
We use a pump sprayer to mist each enclosure (some daily, others weekly). This imitates a light rain.
We only handle our hatchlings when soaking them, cleaning their enclosures, or the occasional visit to the Vet when needed.
We otherwise leave them alone in their habitats to prevent stressing them out.
- Plastic container. (We buy ours at Home Depot).
- Sharpie marker
- Cutting blade
- Sphagnum moss
Use the ruler and Sharpie marker to draw the entrance to be cut.
Using the cutting blade, slice gently along the marked line.
BE CAREFUL. Not only are you using a sharp blade, but plastic can crack.
Take handfuls of sphagnum moss, wet in warm water, squeeze any excess water, and place in the humid hide until it's almost full.
Keep the sphagnum moss moist and warm at all times.
These particular containers are great because of their pop-open lids, allowing for easy access to tortoises, maintenance of the moss, and cleaning.
Made using OSB Sheathing boards. The inside is coated in Flex Seal (to waterproof and prevent warping and molding). We lined the inner walls with vinyl tiles for extra waterproofing and provide a nicer look.
All the needed components are added: substrate, water dish, humid hide, thermometer/hygrometer readers, lights, CHE, camera, and random decor.
Tables are set up side-by-side to share the UVB light.
We've added a shower curtain over the top of the tables to maintain the enclosed style habitat. Hot & humid!!!